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Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is next week. As in right-around-the-corner, it’ll-be-here-before-we-know it, better-start-planning-your-pies-and-making-room-in-your-fridge next week. It’s that time of year when gluttony is encouraged and households everywhere celebrate the invention of pants with elastic waists.

Now, I love stretchy pants just as much as the next person, and fully intend on having seconds of my mom’s delicious stuffing, but there is something to be said about being mindful about indulging over the holiday. And while I’m not here to preach about portion size or how to make all of your favorite dishes low-fat, I am going to challenge you to get at least thirty minutes of physical activity on Thanksgiving Day. Oh, hush, I can hear you whining about it from here. Thirty minutes.—it will be over before you know it. You’ll spend more time than that watching all of the marching bands perform on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And think about how great you’ll feel, not to mention all of the amazing health benefits you get from regular physical activity: (source: Center for Disease Control (CDC))

  • Control your weight
  • Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Reduce your risk of some cancers
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mental health and mood
  • Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you’re an older adult
  • Increase your chances of living longer

So, lace up your shoes in the morning and head out the door for a mind-clearing walk in the brisk autumn air before the cooking marathon ensues. Or grab the whole family (Fido, too!) and participate in the 22nd Annual Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot (there’s both a one and five mile event)—it’s the largest five mile race in Texas, and proceeds from the event are donated to great causes in Austin! Or round up the kids and play a round of touch football in the backyard during halftime of the televised game—who says getting your heart rate up can’t be fun?

Remember, you only get to indulge in Grandma’s chocolate-covered-pecan-pumpkin-cheesecake once a year, so you should enjoy every last bite! But do yourself a favor this Thanksgiving and get moving for just thirty short minutes—not only will your body thank you for it, but you’ll get the added bonus of my favorite benefit from regular physical activity: decreased second helping guilt.

Katie Lyke, RN
Manager, St. David’s Emergency Center in Bee Cave

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